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Trump impeached in 2nd historic vote

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol in a swift and stunning collapse of his final days in office.

With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. The proceedings moved at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just one week after violent pro-Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, egged on by the president’s calls for them to “fight like hell” against the election results.

Ten Republicans fled Trump, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if Congress should leave him unchecked before Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.

Trump is the only U.S. president to be twice impeached.

The Capitol insurrection stunned and angered lawmakers, who were sent scrambling for safety as the mob descended, and it revealed the fragility of the nation’s history of peaceful transfers of power. The riot also forced a reckoning among some Republicans, who have stood by Trump throughout his presidency and largely allowed him to spread false attacks against the integrity of the 2020 election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, imploring lawmakers to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign “and domestic.”

She said of Trump: “He must go, he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

Holed up at the White House, watching the proceedings on TV, Trump took no responsibility for the bloody riot seen around the world, but issued a statement urging “NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind” to disrupt Biden’s ascension to the White House.

In the face of the accusations against him and with the FBI warning of more violence, Trump said, “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.”

Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 acquit. He is the first to be impeached twice. None has been convicted by the Senate, but Republicans said Wednesday that could change in the rapidly shifting political environment as officeholders, donors, big business and others peel away from the defeated president.

The soonest Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell would start an impeachment trial is next Tuesday, the day before Trump is already set to leave the White House, McConnell’s office said. The legislation is also intended to prevent Trump from ever running again.

McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and considers the Democrats’ impeachment drive an opportunity to reduce the divisive, chaotic president’s hold on the GOP, a Republican strategist told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

McConnell told major donors over the weekend that he was through with Trump, said the strategist, who demanded anonymity to describe McConnell’s conversations.

In a note to colleagues Wednesday, McConnell said he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote.”

Unlike his first time, Trump faces this impeachment as a weakened leader, having lost his own reelection as well as the Senate Republican majority.

Even Trump ally Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, shifted his position and said Wednesday the president bears responsibility for the horrifying day at the Capitol.

In making a case for the “high crimes and misdemeanors” demanded in the Constitution, the four-page impeachment resolution approved Wednesday relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a rally near the White House on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. The riot delayed the tally of Electoral College votes that was the last step in finalizing Biden’s victory.

Ten Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, voted to impeach Trump, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself.

Cheney, whose father is the former Republican vice president, said of Trump’s actions summoning the mob that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a President” of his office.

Trump was said to be livid with perceived disloyalty from McConnell and Cheney.

With the team around Trump hollowed out and his Twitter account silenced by the social media company, the president was deeply frustrated that he could not hit back, according to White House officials and Republicans close to the West Wing who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

From the White House, Trump leaned on Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to push Republican senators to resist, while chief of staff Mark Meadows called some of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill.

The president’s sturdy popularity with the GOP lawmakers’ constituents still had some sway, and most House Republicans voted not to impeach.

Security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol, with tall fences around the complex. Metal-detector screenings were required for lawmakers entering the House chamber, where a week earlier lawmakers huddled inside as police, guns drawn, barricade the door from rioters.

“We are debating this historic measure at a crime scene,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

During the debate, some Republicans repeated the falsehoods spread by Trump about the election and argued that the president has been treated unfairly by Democrats from the day he took office.

Other Republicans argued the impeachment was a rushed sham and complained about a double standard applied to his supporters but not to the liberal left. Some simply appealed for the nation to move on.

Rep. Tom McClintock of California said, “Every movement has a lunatic fringe.”

Yet Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo. and others recounted the harrowing day as rioters pounded on the chamber door trying to break in. Some called it a “coup” attempt.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., contended that Trump was “capable of starting a civil war.”

Conviction and removal of Trump would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, which will be evenly divided. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to “go away as soon as possible.”

Fending off concerns that an impeachment trial would bog down his first days in office, Biden is encouraging senators to divide their time between taking taking up his priorities of confirming his nominees and approving COVID-19 relief while also conducting the trial.

The impeachment bill draws from Trump’s own false statements about his election defeat to Biden. Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.

The House had first tried to persuade Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke their authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Pence declined to do so, but the House passed the resolution anyway.

The impeachment bill also details Trump’s pressure on state officials in Georgia to “find” him more votes.

While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, there is precedent. In 1876, during the Ulysses Grant administration, War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House the day he resigned, and the Senate convened a trial months later. He was acquitted.


Provo
Provo's Friends of the Coalition to receive portion of LDS Church $3.3 million donation to homeless

Provo’s Food and Care Coalition and Friends of the Coalition received a large donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Wednesday to help with homeless housing that the nonprofits are building.

Leaders of the LDS Church announced $3.3 million in donations as part of their ongoing efforts to help provide shelter as well as other financial and in-kind support for Utah’s homeless population.

Five organizations in the state have received funding from the church to help provide shelter for the homeless in 2021. Those organizations include: The Road Home, Shelter the Homeless, Friends of the Coalition, Switchpoint and Utah Community Action.

“We reach out to all of God’s children without exception,” said Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, who helps oversee the temporal needs of the global church.

Waddell and Elder William K. Jackson of the Seventy participated in a virtual meeting with the executive directors of the partner organizations on Friday to discuss their efforts to end homelessness in Utah, according to the announcement.

Provo

As the homeless population grows in Utah County, Provo-based Friends of the Coalition plans to build 72 one-bedroom units on its existing site to provide permanent supportive housing.

Ground was broken Oct. 16 on The Candlelight Villas project, which is spearheaded by the Food and Care Coalition and supported by a handful of corporate donors. It will consist of 72 one-bedroom rental units “with the target population being homeless persons who utilize our services,” according to a summary of the project by the Provo-based homeless resource center.

When the units are built and operational, residents experiencing homelessness will be able to rent them at an income-adjusted rate, said Brent Crane, president of the Food and Care Coalition at the groundbreaking.

The project is not just about housing, Crane said at the time, describing it as an effort to provide stability for individuals who may be struggling with mental health issues or drug addiction.

“For our population who lack a roof overhead, it’s so much more than that,” Crane said. “They lose their connection to family, they lose their connection to friend and neighbor and pet, respite from the rigors of the day, that they can go clean themselves up, relax on their couch, enjoy the camaraderie of their family and friends and neighbors and maybe even a beloved pet.

“So when we talk about homelessness in Utah County, we’re talking about that they’ve lost far more than a roof overhead,” he said.

An outline of the Candlelight Villas project, which is expected to be operational in April, states that it will be built as a “Pocket Neighborhood” that reflects a “community” feel instead of a “project feel.”

“The new neighborhood will be built around important support services, including education, medical, dental and mental health services, and employment opportunities,” according to the outline.

While the Food and Care Coalition currently operates 38 on-site transitional housing units and two off-site permanent supportive housing units, Crane said a shortage of affordable one-bedroom apartments in Utah County — which is exacerbated by the high demand for student housing — makes it difficult for homeless individuals to make long-term transitions.

The project, which is expected to cost approximately $8.6 million, is funded through a number of private donations, including from doTERRA, VanCon and HomeAid Utah, as well as through CARES Act funding that was awarded to the county, Crane said.

Financial support from the church, combined with the contributions from other donors, will provide the funds needed for the project.

“This project that the church is helping us fund will be self-sustaining,” Crane said. “We will not require outside funding in the future for this particular part of our programming.”

Salt Lake City

The church will continue its support of The Road Home in Salt Lake City in 2021, which provides shelter and other services for more than 1,700 people who are homeless a year. Latter-day Saints have supported this community resource for more than a decade, according to the announcement.

“Our goal is to reduce the time that anybody has to spend homeless,” said Michelle Flynn, executive director of The Road Home. “Whether it’s out on the streets or in one of our homeless resource center facilities, we know that every single day that a child spends in our shelter impacts them negatively, and we want to help them get back into their own home as quickly as possible.”

The donation to Shelter the Homeless will help fund transportation services and provide security for a winter overflow shelter in Salt Lake County.

“This donation will aid us with winter temporary housing efforts to provide the unsheltered a warm bed and will also fund ongoing operations of the homeless resource centers, specifically to ensure the health, safety and security of the staff, guests and the surrounding community,” said Laurie G. Hopkins, executive director of Shelter the Homeless.

The church has also partnered with Utah Community Action to assist low-income families with rent to keep them in affordable housing.

Tooele and St. George

Switchpoint will use the church’s contribution to help construct a 150-unit homeless resource center in Tooele and add a child care facility to its St. George campus, according to the church announcement.

Carol Hollowell, executive director of the Switchpoint Community Resource Center in St. George, said many of the working poor in the area had their hours cut or lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no place to take their children. Many of those workers are employed in the tourism industry.

“That’s why we’re building the 24/7 child care center so that these working families can have a safe, affordable spot for their children to be,” she said.

The church’s humanitarian budget has been increased for the second year in a row to help those around the world who are suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the church announcement.


Govt-and-politics
featured
Utah's delegation votes 'no' to Trump impeachment

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time for inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol last week, making Trump the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, which resulted in five deaths — including a Capitol Police officer — and dozens of injuries.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, accused the president of “inciting this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country.”

“He must go,” Pelosi said on the House floor. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

The impeachment resolution states that in the months leading up to the joint session of Congress, “President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials.”

Trump’s false claims about the election “incited” the mob in Washington, D.C. that “unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts.”

“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” the resolution read. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, including Reps. David Valadao, R-CA, Liz Cheney, R-WY, Jaime Herrera-Beutler, R-WA and Fred Upton, R-MI.

The four members of Utah’s delegation, all Republicans, voted against impeachment.

Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, issued a joint statement on Wednesday with Reps. Dan Crenshaw, R-TX, Chip Roy, R-TX and Nancy Mace, R-SC condemning Trump “for the words and actions which contributed to these events” but objecting to the political nature of the impeachment process.

“Unfortunately, rather than conducting a sober review of the facts through hearings and establishing the legal standards under which we would review all that transpired, our Democratic colleagues are rushing impeachment articles through the House of Representatives and beginning to target members of Congress as well with threat of blanket censure, devoid of specific examples of individual members’ actions,” they wrote. “Taking these paths undermine due process as established in the Constitution and inflames an already starkly divided nation by politicizing what should be a serious and thoughtful bipartisan review.”

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-UT, a close supporter of the president who has contested the presidential election results without providing evidence of any widespread election fraud, said impeachment articles “raise serious Constitutional questions that deserve a full hearing and considerable debate, a lengthy task that will delay the next administration’s ability to move forward.”

“With only seven days until President-elect (Joe) Biden takes office, any debate on impeachment will not only deepen the divide, it will also be rushed, purely political, and distract from the unprecedented challenges facing Utah families,” Owens said in a written statement.

Alliance for a Better Utah, a left-leaning nonprofit, said Utah’s congressional delegation “betrayed their constituents and their country when they voted to let Trump get away with it.”

“Utahns expect integrity from our leaders in Congress, and today they failed us,” Executive Director Chase Thomas said in a written statement.

Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 for allegedly pressuring Ukraine’s government to launch a politically charged investigation and obstructing Congress from looking into the matter. No Republicans voted to impeach Trump in 2019.

The soonest Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, would start an impeachment trial is next week, according to The Associated Press.


Precollegiate
featured
Alpine School District looking into school consolidations

At Tuesday’s Alpine School District Board of Education meeting, one of the biggest topics on the agenda revolved around the possible consolidation of some schools in the district.

“We’re in the study mode right now,” said Alpine Administrator of Public Relations David Stephenson. “We are definitely considering multiple ideas or proposals on what to do. We’re looking at the data as far as enrollment numbers and we’re going out and hosting meetings. We held meetings last week with school leadership and parent leadership to get their thoughts. We didn’t go out with an agenda, we just went out and asked for them to share their questions, concerns and suggestions. We’re kind of at the first of the process.”

The consolidations proposed would see Suncrest Elementary School and Geneva Elementary School merge as well as Polaris High School and Polaris West High School. The final school mentioned was Valley View Elementary, which would merge with other neighboring schools, according to Stephenson.

The board looks at trends with enrollment, the older schools in the district and more when looking into merging schools, adjusting boundaries and other options before using taxpayer money to build new schools.

Suncrest and Geneva are both located in Orem with Geneva Park acting as a divider between the two schools.

Geneva is actually the oldest school in the district, which was built in 1948, and is dealing with some seismic concerns with the safety of students and teachers.

Polaris High School in Orem and Polaris West High School in American Fork are alternative schools in the district, aimed at helping students who are at risk of not graduating because they are behind on credits. These two schools serve the same purpose, do not have set boundaries and pull from various schools in the district.

Valley View Elementary School is also being talked about as it is located in Pleasant Grove with two other elementary schools within 2 miles of the current campus.

Dr. Shane Farnsworth, assistant superintendent-operations and soon to be superintendent, presented the information following a request from the board in November to formalize a study into consolidations, according to the meeting minutes.

The formalized process for possible consolidation started on Tuesday but studies, focus groups and public comment will follow prior to a decision from the school board.

The current timeline for the possible decision includes informal meetings in January with focus groups, employees, city officials and patrons. Next will come formal meetings regarding considerations and public feedback, which includes public comment at board meetings, in the month of February. Come March, final revisions to the plans will be made with a public hearing held and a recommended plan going to the board toward the end of the month.

If the board decides to move forward after the study, the possible consolidation plans will be an action item during the April 13 board meeting.

Dr. Farnsworth said that the consideration of the consolidations is linked to public survey results that wanted to see district resources and facilities be maximized before another bond is proposed. Public notices will be posted and sent to the communities involved, starting the 120 days of feedback.

Online comments came through during the meeting with many parents unhappy about the possible closing of Valley View Elementary School.

Parents cited high testing results at the school, the quality of teachers and how the change could possibly impact their children.

One parent in particular said that their family lives adjacent to Valley View Elementary and the school was one of the reasons they purchased a home nearby. Next year, two of the family’s children will be school-aged and could be attending the school. The parent voiced that the idea for consolidation should have been brought to the school community for input prior to a formal evaluation.

The parent added that a realignment of boundaries might be a better move as it could possibly bring more students into Valley View from surrounding schools.

Stephenson gave some context about Valley View and brought up the proposed consolidation of Hillcrest and Scera Park elementary schools, noting Geneva was a part of the discussion.

After holding meetings with community groups and more, the board decided against the consolidation of Geneva into the new school. This was an example of a proposal that changed along the way.

“We’re definitely in really preliminary stages of even looking at possible changes for the Valley View community,” Stephenson said. “As we met with a school and community group last week they raised a lot of questions and concerns that we need to look at. There’s lots of possibilities that we have to look at and we just want to fully honor the process of collecting the feedback, listening to the public and looking at all of the options before any proposals are even made.”

One Geneva community member spoke on the consolidation of Suncrest and Geneva elementary schools and was in favor of the consolidation if it does not split up the current population, results in the construction of a new elementary school and “preserves the strong academic traditions that have been established at Geneva.”

The ultimate goal behind these consolidations is a possible bond in the future that could lead to the construction of new schools.

“We’re looking at potential boundary changes, school configurations, school consolidations, anything that we can do before we go back out and ask taxpayers for more funding through a bond,” Stephenson said. “That’s why we are going through this process, to ensure that is happening prior to a potential bond in the next year or two.”

The public notice to formalize the process and study the possible consolidation and boundary adjustments was unanimously approved by the board and will now enter the 120-day feedback period before any decisions are made.


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